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How to build Cardio capacity

LastchancetochangeLastchancetochange Member Posts: 144 Member Member Posts: 144 Member
Hi team, I’m 43 years old. I’ve never had cardio capacity. Been overweight since 19 years old. Ive lost 40 pounds in 1 year. I can see my evolution in weight training but my cardio capacity is terrible. I can’t run for damaged knee but going up 6 stories with stairs kills me, I also ride mountain bike and as soon as the uphill start I struggle severely. My heart rate rises very fast and at 163 bpm I have to stop or I start to get dizzy. Any advice or program on how to improve this. I also swim 2-3 times a week and also walk some times.

Replies

  • KarenSmith2018KarenSmith2018 Member, Premium Posts: 287 Member Member, Premium Posts: 287 Member
    No specific advice other than keep trying. Likely you'd find something online though - especially if you searched improving hill speed or similar. We only get good at what we keep practicing at
  • snowflake954snowflake954 Member Posts: 6,462 Member Member Posts: 6,462 Member
    Hi team, I’m 43 years old. I’ve never had cardio capacity. Been overweight since 19 years old. Ive lost 40 pounds in 1 year. I can see my evolution in weight training but my cardio capacity is terrible. I can’t run for damaged knee but going up 6 stories with stairs kills me, I also ride mountain bike and as soon as the uphill start I struggle severely. My heart rate rises very fast and at 163 bpm I have to stop or I start to get dizzy. Any advice or program on how to improve this. I also swim 2-3 times a week and also walk some times.

    My question would be: how's your swimming? Swimming needs lung capacity and won't put your joints under stress. I'd make sure that your swimming form is good and then slowly ramp up there. The others-our cycling experts-have given good advice. For me cardio capacity means lung capacity. It all goes hand-in-hand. Whatever you do, do it gradually. Injuries will set you back. Good luck.
  • LastchancetochangeLastchancetochange Member Posts: 144 Member Member Posts: 144 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I don't have anything to add to the build base with low intensity first, pick an exercise type that doesn't mess with personal limitations, etc., above. I agree with all of that.

    I'm just in for a personal anecdote: I wasn't routinely active until my mid-40s (45+), after cancer treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, more). I was obese. I started being active, slowly, after cancer treatment. I was horrifyingly out of shape, in every respect. I already had arthritis in some joints, at least one torn meniscus. I couldn't run, or at that point even walk lots/routinely (knees wouldn't take it). I started with yoga, moved on to weight training, then found on-water rowing and loved it. I did machine rowing more at first (it was Winter/frozen here), plus low impact aerobics on video (Richard Simmons - this was way back). I just kept plugging along, slowly, adding volume as I got a little fitter. Within a couple of years (still obese, by the way), I medaled, first place, in my age group (old!) in a machine rowing race. My boats even placed, or came close, in on water races. I started taking spin classes, riding my bike outdoors, kept rowing, on-water and machine.

    Finally, just about 6 years ago, I started losing weight, and went from obese to healthy weight in a year, kept doing the same workout routine. I'm 65 now. Now, my Garmin fitness tracker says I'm in the top 5% of cardiovascular fitness for my age/gender (F), and that my fitness age is *20* - a 45 year discount from reality. Now, I don't think that's accurate at all, really kind of laughable, but what I'm trying to do, is paint a vivid picture that . . . .

    YOU can make huge progress. YOU can surprise yourself. Any thought that you're too old to make progress is Just Wrong.

    Be patient, keep walking/swimming/biking (maybe fewer hills for a while), start with lower intensity, build volume before intensity. Do the things that avoid injury/pain, but are a small bit of a challenge. Just. Keep. Going. In a few months, start experimenting with some small doses of higher intensity, see how it goes. If it goes well, add some in regularly, but as a condiment to the lower intensity/higher volume stuff, not as a main dish.

    Give it time, and an intelligent program, with consistency. You'll make progress. It will feel great.

    Hang in there!

    Thanks for the very detailed reply.I'm seeing progress, I guess because Friday / Sat / Sunday I'm not eating well part of my success is not fully arriving but I'm getting quite more in shape for when I was. And also learning. In teh bike I had a lot of pain on the saddle and now new saddle and much better. Swimming I get cramps in my toe and the pool guy told to eat a banana pre training for the potassium and that has also worked today.

    In the weight training I've also seen progress since I started although in the last couple of weeks less. As you say, I have to keep at it and it for sure will impact. I have already lost 1 pant size in 2 months so bit by bit.
  • FitAgainBy55FitAgainBy55 Member Posts: 179 Member Member Posts: 179 Member
    Building cardio fitness requires consistency and volume. Pick whatever cardio activity you can do at a moderate intensity and see how long you can sustain it without over exertion. That duration is now your baseline. If the duration is low (let's say only 4 or 5 minutes) then you might consider intervals. Do 4 minutes, rest for several minutes, do it again for 4 minutes, rest ... repeat etc.... Do this several times per week and then slowly increase the duration each week.
  • rosebarnalicerosebarnalice Member Posts: 3,193 Member Member Posts: 3,193 Member
    As a swimmer, why not try sprinting half a pool length, then work yourself up to a whole length, then perhaps eventually two (not necessarily back to back).
  • LtHammerheadLtHammerhead Member Posts: 26 Member Member Posts: 26 Member
    It sounds like a volume game. When I first started exercising I walked. Then run-walked. Then ran slow. Then upped distance. Eventually ran a marathon. Don’t go nuts, build it slow and consistent.

    Since running and uphill biking sound like problems, can you swim? Also it’s possible that you’re just overextending, losing form and that’s what’s causing the pain.
  • tgillies003tgillies003 Member, Premium Posts: 396 Member Member, Premium Posts: 396 Member
    Swimming is a great low impact cardio workout.
    Most online exercise classes have low impact cardio.
    In my experience, the only way I’ve been able to do more is by doing more. Little by little the more I do, the more I am able to do.

    Take care
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,278 Member Member Posts: 10,278 Member
    It sounds like a volume game. When I first started exercising I walked. Then run-walked. Then ran slow. Then upped distance. Eventually ran a marathon. Don’t go nuts, build it slow and consistent.

    👍
  • djaxon1djaxon1 Member Posts: 79 Member Member Posts: 79 Member
    As mentioned above "base fitness" is needed first.
    And just do what you are happy to do - this means you are more likely to continue .
    Don't train to failure ,avoid 6 flights at once , avoid hills - moderation is really good , it allows you to exercise for longer without "killing yourself"
    Bike gears are great for speed downhill but not so good for uphill - dismount and walk ?
    If the stairs are handy for you try this - up one flight,down one flight rest if needed and repeat.
    The interval suggestion above is a good one.
    If using a HRM then try keep below , say, 120 ? See how it goes , adjust as necessary .

    Carry on and try the suggestions in this thread.
    The hardest part is starting out - you've passed that.
    It all takes time.
    dave.j


  • LastchancetochangeLastchancetochange Member Posts: 144 Member Member Posts: 144 Member
    djaxon1 wrote: »
    As mentioned above "base fitness" is needed first.
    And just do what you are happy to do - this means you are more likely to continue .
    Don't train to failure ,avoid 6 flights at once , avoid hills - moderation is really good , it allows you to exercise for longer without "killing yourself"
    Bike gears are great for speed downhill but not so good for uphill - dismount and walk ?
    If the stairs are handy for you try this - up one flight,down one flight rest if needed and repeat.
    The interval suggestion above is a good one.
    If using a HRM then try keep below , say, 120 ? See how it goes , adjust as necessary .

    Carry on and try the suggestions in this thread.
    The hardest part is starting out - you've passed that.
    It all takes time.
    dave.j


    Thanks, for the message and the tips it's great!
  • laurenread79laurenread79 Member Posts: 43 Member Member Posts: 43 Member
    Maybe your doing to much...walk and then gradually build on that. Supporting all injury areas x
  • sjp_stevensonsjp_stevenson Member Posts: 2 Member Member Posts: 2 Member
    The above advice really does work. From doing nothing I have been walking briskly for about an hour every day for the last three months. I recently began to add some cycling as the weather has improved. The other day I looked back at my cycle computer records from April 2020. I'm really pleased with the difference. If I compare the same course my time now is much less and my HR is significantly lower. It's still hard work in places but I can feel the difference on a hill. Carrying 12 kg less body weight also helps. I may slow down to a walking pace but at least I don't have to stop to catch my breath. I haven't been out on my bike many times this year so all the improvement in my base fitness is simply from walking.

    I have a couple of tips to add. On the subject of not trying something too taxing too soon, cycle tracks along disused railway lines are great - the gradients are guaranteed to be gentle and they often allow you to cycle respectable distances. Plus of course they are traffic free! Great for lower intensity fitness building and calorie burn. Also, for a given speed it's better to have higher cadence in a lower gear. Your leg muscles need to generate less force on the pedals that way. Everyone has a natural cadence. A cycle computer and sensor will reveal yours and you can decide if it needs upping.

    Finally, your bike may not be well suited to yourself and/or the riding you are trying to do. When I bought my bike a few years ago, the first piece of advice I got was not to spend so little that the quality of the bike had an impact on my enjoyment of riding. That was good advice. Choosing which type of bike to buy is harder because there are a bewildering range of bike types all of which are good at different things. I see in your first post that you write about cycling a mountain bike uphill. If you are doing this on a road, the weight of the bike will be adding to your woe. The suspension, heavy frame and big tyres are not needed and simply become dead weight. One thing I learned after buying my bike was that the gearing as supplied did not suit me as an older, less fit, overweight person. after a couple of years I lowered the gearing. I'm so glad I did! It is now much more suited to myself and the cycling I do, and I'm convinced it has an impact on my performance and enjoyment.

    I hope something in this has been of help.
  • jjpptt2jjpptt2 Member Posts: 5,220 Member Member Posts: 5,220 Member
    moderate intensity and volume. Basically, more minutes each week/month at a moderate (for you) intensity.
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